For the 50+ Traveler

Rainy day have you stuck inside your hotel room? Wondering why your hotel always provides a shower cap that no one ever uses? Want to save a little extra dough with some neat hotel hacks?

Whether you're an avid or newbie traveler, there are some seriously sneaky hotel hacks that can make for a better stay. We've all heard of sneaking warm, buttery rolls into a shower cap or using an iron to make a grilled cheese, but you've probably never heard of the following hotel hacks that we guarantee you'll want to use during your next hotel stay.

Besides, who doesn't love to get the most bang for their buck when fishing out the cash for top-notch accommodations?

1. Create your own surround sound system

Most hotels come equipped with either a coffee mug, plastic and styrofoam cups, or an ice bucket.

If you want to set the mood in your hotel room and create your own surround sound system, simply set your cell phone in a cup or ice bucket to amplify the sound and feel like you're at your own private concert.

2. Put that shower cap to use

As previously mentioned, there's an old and popular hotel hack of turning useless shower caps into functional material, such as using them as plastic bags to store warm delicious rolls.

If you want to make even better use of the shower cap that you likely aren't going to use in the shower, cover your dirty shoes with the cap before putting them into your suitcase, or cover your leftovers with the cap and put them in the hotel refrigerator. You can also use the shower cap to cover germ-filled remote controls.

3. Get your hand washing done, free of charge!

If your hotel has a towel drying rack in the room, you now have a clothes dryer as well!

If you're on an extended trip, you likely have some dirty laundry. You can use your hotel sink to wash your delicates or smaller items, such as socks, underwear, and T-shirts. You can then hang these clothes on the towel drying rack and save yourself both the trip and some money by avoiding laundromats. Voila!

4. Create your own steamer and humidifier

Hotel bathrooms are usually quite small, making the perfect setting for your own personal steam room.

Turn the shower on hot and close the bathroom door, letting the room fill with steam. You can either use this as a sauna to relax your muscles after several hours of sightseeing or hang some wrinkled clothes from the shower curtain.

Another annoyance of many hotel rooms is the dry air that can cause minor respiratory issues, especially while sleeping. If you have an ironing board in your hotel room, hang a wet towel over the board and place it near the A/C unit. This will create a makeshift humidifier in your room for better breathing circumstances.

5. Slip 'em a $20

Though I'm not usually a fan of bribery, slipping the front desk or concierge a $20 can work wonders for your hotel stay.

If you slip the front desk a $20 under your credit card when checking in, they'll likely provide you with a 'complimentary' upgrade. Though this isn't a guaranteed hotel hack, it doesn't hurt to try.

Man putting a wad of cash in his wallet
Slip the front desk some extra cash when checking in and see what happens. Shutterstock / Yulia Grigoryeva

6. Make use of the free conditioner

If you weren't aware, hair conditioner can be used for far much more than just silky smooth hair.

I've personally been using conditioner as shaving cream for at least 10 years, and this wondrous bath product can also be used as a make-up remover, cuticle cream, to handwash delicate clothing items, or protect leather boots and shoes.

7. Ask for a spare key

Nowadays, many hotels require a key card to turn on the electricity in a hotel room.

When checking in to a hotel, ask for two key cards. That way, you can leave the electricity on while you're out of the room, and won't have to temporarily freeze or sweat to death while waiting for the heat or air to kick in!

8. Talk to the GM and ask to see other rooms

If you e-mail the general manager of a hotel before or after booking, creating this relationship can lead to some enjoyable perks.

According to financial advice website Wise Bread, traveler Elizabeth Houck is now consistently upgraded to the king suite at a particular hotel, all thanks to a simple e-mail to the GM regarding her first hotel stay that led to many future advantages and upgrades.

9. Black-out your room

There's nothing more annoying than that tiny sliver of light that shines in from your hotel curtains while trying to have a nice daytime nap or nurse a hangover from the night before.

Luckily, there's a simple fix: Take one of the trouser hangers from the hotel closet and use this to clip the curtains together. You now have blackout curtains. You're welcome.

10. Netflix and chill

If your hotel room has a flat-screen TV, an HDMI port (highly likely), and WiFi, you can easily set up your Netflix account or other streaming devices to your hotel TV. Now you can stream shows from your phone, tablet, or laptop. Again, you're welcome.

TV with Netflix logo
Stream movies and TV shows in your hotel room. Unsplash /

11. No gym? No problem

If you're worried about not being able to exercise during your trip AND your hotel doesn't offer its own gym, don't worry!

Though you might have to move around some furniture, hotel rooms are usually large enough for some basic at-home exercises, such as squats, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and lunges. There's now no excuse not to exercise!

12. Traveling with the whole family

There are two genius hotel hacks to use if you're staying in a room with the whole family, especially if traveling with young ones.

If you have fussy children (or grandchildren) who are constantly fighting over who gets what, defuse the argument of who takes up more space in the bed by using the many extra pillows hotel rooms provide to create a divider to separate the kids before they hit the hay. No room for arguments now!

If your hotel room has an ironing board, this is now your kids' dining table. Simply prop up the ironing board and have your kids sit at the end of the bed. Place their dinners on the ironing board, and you have a dinner table.

13. Block out noise and light

We won't spend too much time explaining this one, but if you want to drown out the sound or light sneaking in from your hotel door, put a towel under the crease for ultimate privacy and comfort.

14. Trickery with "Do Not Disturb" signs

An unfortunate downside to staying in hotels (or any accommodation for that matter) is that they are sometimes broken into.

If you want to avoid getting robbed while out-and-about, hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign from your door at all times. This will warn any potential thieves that you are in the room (even if you aren't, muahaha), and they will be deterred from breaking and entering.

We hope this helps you get the most out of your next hotel stay. No shame in the game, friends. Happy trails!